Marin Cilic, you are mighty.
I didn't see the match, so I don't know if Rafa was injured or if Shmafa turned up or what happened, but for someone to beat him so comprehensively, they have to be playing pretty damn well. Mighty Marin Cilic, that was some win.
I've been on the Mighty Marin bandwagon for a long time now, and so it makes me very happy to see him doing well and knocking out quality opponents - though I still love you, Rafa, fear not. As we saw in the US Open, when he totally smashed Andy Murray like a guitar, he is capable of tennis that truly rocks the kasbah. He's got talent in huge lashings and when it's on display, he is absolutely fearsome. Top ten for sure.
However, the one problem Marin has is that this talent doesn't always come to play. He gets nervous - I note that this happened in the third set last night, where he was on the path to beating Rafa breadstick and breadstick but suffered from some tightness. This is, I think, the last major hurdle he has to overcome. If he can bring his talent, or at least some measure of it, to play on every occasion he steps on the court, he is going to skyrocket up the rankings. Nalbandian-esque streakiness won't do him any favours in the long run.
So it will be interesting to see what he delivers when he steps on court against Novak Djokovic tomorrow. I'm going to go out on a limb and pick Cilic to win - but if, and only if, he shows up with talent in tow.
China Open (Bejing)
Marin Cilic def. Rafael Nadal, 6-1 6-3
Novak Djokovic def. Robin Soderling, 6-3 6-3
Svetlana Kuznetsova def. Nadia Petrova, 6-1 6-3
Agnieszka Radwanska def. Marion Bartoli, 6-4 6-3
Rakuten Japan Open Tennis Championships (Tokyo)
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga def. Gael Monfils, 6-3 6-3
Mikhail Youzhny def. Lleyton Hewitt, 6-2 5-7 7-5
Roger: older and not quite out
6 months ago